HAPPY MONDAY'S KICK OFF THEIR '30TH ANNIVERSARY - TWENTY FOUR HOUR PARTY PEOPLE: TOUR' AT DUNDEE'S CAIRD HALL
You can take the band out of Manchester, but you can’t take Manchester out the band. What can I say about this gig that really hasn’t already been said about this 80’s and early 90’s Manchester band?? Not a lot is the answer. If you could give a gig 6 stars, then this would have deserved all 6. They were ordinary street lads, self-professed scallies made good and although times were hard in the 80’s early 90’s they came along at just the right time. They spoke to a youth at the beginning of the acid house culture through their carefree attitude and Manchester sound and swagger that became known worldwide along with the likes of Joy Division, New Order and the Stone Roses.
The acid house scene was a movement that you had to witness as was the Hacienda where the roots of the band were formed. I lived in Leeds at the time and was a regular at the Eclipse in Coventry, Leeds Warehouse, Shelley’s, Quadrant Park and the 051 and was lucky enough to go to the Hacienda a couple of times and the experience will always stay with me. These guys were a huge part of the movement with Factory Records and their music just exploded onto the scene.
So, 30 years on and Dundee was the first gig of a gruelling 26 date tour and boy I wasn’t missing this for anything. They are real living legends of not only that era, but the music industry itself. A band and individual personalities who have never lost their identity and who have never given a fuck about the rules. I geared myself to be potentially disappointed as you do when you see your heroes 30 years too late. But while hanging on a thread of hope, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest and neither was the 1400 strong mad for it crowd.
I’ve not felt a buzz for a long time about a band coming to Dundee, a city that has a reputation for producing class musicians. Dundonians appreciate quality music and working-class heroes that have made good and the Mondays are a prime example of both, so they will always go down well here. You really can’t deny a band whose reputation for partying is on par with the music they have produced and after all their adventures and doomed brain cells, are still packing out venues 30years on.
Brit Award winners, NME, Q Award and an Ivor Novello award show this band are not just a wild bunch, but a true pedigree of musical talent that enjoyed their success, lost it and have found themselves all over again.
You only have to mention the names of Shaun Ryder and Bez and they are instantly recognised as real 24 hour party people. There were 1400 + in the crowd and the atmosphere was electric. I was pleasantly surprised at the age group of the Mondays fan base, ranging from 18-50+, who were all as excited to see the band that will go down in the history books as one of the truly genuine hardcore bands. Warming up the crowd was old skool DJ Bosco, aka Nick Stewart. You might think, just a DJ warming up, but his credentials speak for him. He has played alongside the who’s who of the acid and house scene. 808 State, The Orb, Terry Farley, Marshall Jefferson and Farley Jackmaster Funk. Bosco banged out some classic old skool tunes for an hour and really got the party started, warming up nicely for the main act.
The lights dimmed, and the crowd just went mental. Rowetta came on and did an incredible intro. She showed from minute one the power of her vocals hasn’t faded one bit and she was goose pimple amazing all night. The crowd went absolutely crazy when Bez, then Shaun came on. Security were certainly going to earn their pennies for this gig.
Loose Fit was the first number and it went down well with the baying crowd. Bez doing his thing, enticing, and connecting with the crowd in his brilliant way. Kinky Afro was next, and the place just went mental. Shaun had his shades on and was stood quite a bit back from the crowd, it was only later it was obvious there was some sort of prompt there for him. Bez just didn’t stop going from one end of the stage to the next connecting with people in the crowd. Loads of old hits including Clap your Hands, Judge Fudge and Freaky Dancing were rattled out. As each song finished the crowd were just getting increasingly into the groove and were getting into the night.
Bobs’s your Uncle and Holiday were next. It was fun to see even though there was confusion regarding the song order, the crowd didn’t care and the hypnotic tunes kept coming regardless. It shows the pedigree of a legendary band that can have the occasional hiccup and keep the party on track. Their sound is just as relevant now, if not more than the canned music being churned out by every Tom, Dick and Harry on today’s money trains.
There’s something special about this band even 30 years later. Even with a lot of brain cells scattered they still hold you and the I don’t give an F seemed to rub off onto the crowd. It sort of took me to a weird place and the type of atmosphere how I imagine a gig of The Doors must have created in their early days. They seemed to brush their anarchy onto the crowd while this amazing performance was taking place.
It really was hypnotically beautiful and amazing to see and feel the effect. Step On was next and this just sent the crowd onto another plateau, people singing along, trying to reach Bez who was still doing the rounds. The band seemed to gel so well and really looked like they were having fun again. The crowd got a little too excited and a few people were knocked to the floor, but they were picked up and carried on as if nothing had happened.
Encore was Hallelujah and WFL were just a fitting end to a fitting night. 1400 people were truly delivered a performance that reinforced them as musical legends. You will not find another band that will give you that sort of magical experience and it’s just that, an experience. If there are tickets available in or around your home town or city, then don’t deny yourself.
READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH 'ROWETTA' COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE THE SHOW here: